My reading of A Clash of Kings is going much slower than A Game of Thrones. This is not because the book is dull, by any means, but my schedule has just been busy and I’ve only been able to read in small snatches here and there. But, as of lunchtime today, I am just over halfway through the book and I am enjoying it nearly as much as the first book. I will be very interested to see how HBO handles this book in the second season of Game of Thrones.
So far, there have been only two new viewpoint characters added: Davos and Theon. Of course, the prologue is also told from another point of view, that of Maester Cressen, but I’m not sure that counts. My favorite character by far in this installment in the series is Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage, for folks only watching the HBO series). He takes things to a new level in A Clash of Kings and he is at his finest (so far) when he steps in to help Sansa from some unfounded abuse she is taking. (Of course, when isn’t she.) In the first book, scenes from the point of view of characters like Sansa and Catelyn sometimes seemed slower than others, but in this book, they are not. It’s actually funny, I’d get to a chapter from Sansa’s point of view and think, “Oh boy, here we go…” only to find it fascinating. Ditto Catelyn, especially when she is trying to make the peace between Renly and Stannis.
The magical elements are more readily visible in this second book, although they are by no means out in the open (yet). Martin dolls out just enough of these to make the story more and more interesting, but the magical mystery of the story pervades nearly every story line: Bran and his dreams; Jon and what is going on with the march beyond the Wall; Daenerys and her dragons; Catelyn and the sept, to say nothing of the scene with Renly in his tent. In fact, the only characters so far who seem to have avoided any hint of magic are Tyrion and Arya. And speaking of Arya: if Tyrion is my favorite, well, Arya is next in line. She is a great character.
I think it is interesting that Martin chose not to use Robb as a viewpoint character, but he may have had to do it that way for the story to unfold the way it does.
In any case, the second book is as much of a page turner as the first and I only wish I could spend more time reading it. Maybe this weekend…